Just a few days ago, I was talking to a friend of mine who said that when she had kids, she wanted to take them places like Haiti, or the Dominican Republic. Not to “touristy” places. Well, if having your five year old kidnapped and sold for organs and/or sex is what you really want…
But no, she said that it would be good for “them.” Note the ambiguity. She didn’t specify whether “them” was her kids or the people living in plywood boxes. Natural follow up: I didn’t realize that these poor people benefited so much from the presence of your children.
“It’s not for the poor people, it’s for the kids.” Oh, okay. I guess I understand that. It’s like sending your kids to jail for the day and having convicts yell at them to stay off drugs. But sadly, it’s not like that. My sincere hope was that she would be capable of simply wanting to scare her kids straight. But no…she is afflicted with the pathological narcissism that affects so many young people today.
“I want them to develop a sense of compassion.” Translation: I want my hypothetical kids to be aware that there are poor people in the world, and feel bad for it. This guilt will allow them to adopt a position of moral superiority while still indulging in the pleasures of a first world country. And as an added bonus, it will teach them that moral feelings are more important than moral actions.
It doesn’t help that she’s Catholic, either. Not a real Catholic, but a liberal Catholic, which is another way of saying that she’s not a Catholic. At least Transubstantiation allowed Catholic guilt to become White guilt. God works in mysterious ways.
It was with this in mind that I went home and started browsing the Internet, because I enjoy impotent rage and am a masochist. At least SJWs and I have something in common. Except instead of looking at Upworthy for Whitebadfeels, I go there to make calibrate my Hate Meters.
Rather than Upworthy, I found this on Elite Daily, which for those who don’t know, is a website that specializes in more erudite clickbait like “Why Morgan Freeman Would Be the Perfect President for Millennials,” and “Keep It Up: 4 Reasons Why Showing Off Your Dad Bod Is Awesome.” And no, I won’t link to these articles. I respect you too much to do that.
So this article, which I did link (and you should NOT click. Just read my polemic and be satisfied) was my second run in that day with mentally ill Millennials. The triggering was great, by the way. It rustled my jimmies in all the right ways.
The article wasn’t all that well received, a mere eight comments. But the commenters were positive and complimentary. Ignore their fawning accusations of depth; they were made by people wearing water wings.
There isn’t a whole lot of substance in it, just a typical Millennial preaching the virtues of travel, but the typicality is what makes it so important. We see the Millennial mind in its naked, narcissistic glory. This woman is the voice of a generation, even if I’m the only one who realizes it.
With that said, let’s delve into the pathology of the modern mind. Important to remember is the story of Narcissus, and what it means. Pussy nerds are apt to fawn over the famous “Dark Triad” of narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy, and I guess I get the appeal of a psycho bad boy, but this isn’t the sexy kind of narcissism. It’s boring and cowardly.
Thanks to Freud, people think of narcissism as being overly self-absorbed. That’s because in the myth, Narcissus fell in love with his reflection in the pond. Freud got the moral of story wrong, and left out the important lesson of why Narcissus had such a lame life.
The answer was ignorance foisted upon him by his parents. Narcissus’ mother, the nymph Liriope, was told by the seer Tiresias that her son would live a long life provided that he never knew himself. What glories might Narcissus have achieved had he known himself? Conquer the world like Alexander? Become the Godhead? Maybe, but who knows. After realizing he couldn’t have his own reflection, he chose suicide. Something even worse than the straw death.
Real narcissism is lack of self-knowledge, and more importantly, a fear of acquiring that self-knowledge. And that fear will go to any lengths to prevent the individual from actually acquiring self-knowledge.
Our author, Miss Cawley, provides an excellent example of what that looks like. Here are a couple of choice passages from the article.
“I can’t sit still; I refuse to. I am moved by my own indeterminate, adaptive passions”
And perhaps more tellingly...
“I can’t live in one place. I’m a different person each time I exhale. I want to try cities on for size and discard countries with my winter wardrobe.” (emphasis mine)
Context for those who haven’t read the article, this woman moves constantly. If I were to read about a woman who moved to a new town every year or every couple months, and wasn’t doing it for work, I would have to ask, “What is she running from?” and “What has she done?”
Remember what I said about narcissism being boring. Because she isn’t running from anyone or anything. She’s running from herself. Don’t blame me if that sounds cliché. The modern world creates cliché people.
It isn’t what she’s done; it’s what she hasn’t done, which is anything. Narcissism isn’t just about not knowing yourself: It’s about avoiding anything that might lead to self-knowledge. After all, you might not like what you find. And don’t make it sexy. You are thinking that inside that Dad bod is some sweaty, charismatic, Jax Teller just waiting to be unchained. More like paunchy father of three. The secret is that there is no secret. You aren’t a Matryoshka doll hiding a kung fu master. You are what you do, what you produce. Nothing more and nothing less. The fantasies and idle daydreams are just ways of avoiding the reality of your own insignificance. Why better yourself when you can imagine yourself being better? It’s almost as good as the real thing, and certainly easier.
Back to Ms. Crawley and her chronically itchy feet. Living somewhere entails creating a certain amount of social capital. Constant moving is like saving up a year’s salary and blowing it on a Charlie Sheen-esque coke party replete with hookers and tiger blood. But it’s not even that. It’s more like wasting it on overpriced black tar heroin.
As soon as she begins settling in an area and developing a network of people she knows, she recoils. After all, “I’m a different person each time I exhale.” Why do you want to be a different person?
She refuses to stay in one place because she would be forced to confront herself. Who you are is revealed through your interaction with other people. The only way to do that is to lay down your war banner and challenge all comers. That means building a life. Traveling to find yourself is traveling to lose yourself. It gives the illusion of self-knowledge while protecting the ego from actual knowledge, since you can just push the reset button every few months.
After all, what happens when you aren’t the sexy new girl and just another townie? You become dangerously close to realizing that you’re just some low level NPC who doesn’t much matter in the scheme of things. But wait, you’ve outgrown this city. It’s taught you everything it can. Time to move on.
The common denominator in both my friend’s and Miss Cawley’s case is narcissism, albeit manifested in two different ways. My friend fails to grasp that sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul, and Miss Cawley does not understand that there are no do overs, no resets. You are not a different person each time you exhale, despite what you might tell yourself. Action is eternal, written in the immutability of the past.
Some of you are going to rush past what I said, point out the envaginated status of the two humans in question, and yell, “Female solipsism!” I don’t think that’s the case, but let’s say you’re right. Then let me ask you a question. Did you go to school? College? Do you watch television? Do you breathe?
If so, then you’ve been immersed in aerosolized female solipsism for so long that it’s irrlevant, and to call this a problem unique to women is to miss the point entirely. At this point in time, so misshapen is our culture that men think and act like women. Feminism, narcissism, female solipsism, whatever you want to call it, has been inflicted on you since birth.
You are a mere shadow, bound by gentle lies that encourage inaction. Fight it! The temptation is to blame the other, and it’s been that way forever--it’s just gotten worse in recent times. Mediocrity is a terrible fate, yet you impose it upon yourself, and to claim otherwise is just another excuse. No one cares what you could be, only what you are.
Taking responsibility for this ugly truth is the path to agency, and to begin the transformation from a cause into an effect. But doing that requires a painful realization--that you are very small. Who knows what you will do? Maybe it’s time to pack your bags and move on. After all, you’re a different person each time you exhale.